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Looking for feedback on Handlebar packs

Hi everyone, I’d love your feedback and experience with any of the following items:

I’ m eyeing the Ortlieb 15L handlebar pack, the Link handlebar roll, and a Portland design works gear belly, which looks beautifully engineered and like a beefier link handlebar roll. They all look great and I’d love to hear from anyone using any of them.  I’d use it on my co-op cycles adv 1.1 or drt 4.1 fat tire bike.  Thanks in advance!

hank

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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Hi @HankG - 

We wanted to tag @Irene to see if they had any feedback or recommendations after asking a similar question a few months back.

Irene, did you end up getting a handlebar bag? If so, do you have any advice to pass along to Hank? 

Thanks! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Hey there @HankG!

I just got my REI Co-op Link Handlebar Roll delivered and I am eager to try it out. I'll be sure to let you know how it works. By first estimation it looks really solid and I'm excited to use it. 

On my first bikepacking trip I used a 'self-invented' (and I mean that in the loosest of terms) set up on my handlebars. I have a Salsa Anything Cradle, which I really appreciate for a couple of reasons: first, it is rigid and stable, meaning there is less bouncing and jostling of gear around my handlebars, and second, because it sticks out from the handlebars, it creates a sort of 'platform' where I was able to strap my sleeping pad, bear spray, and dog leash on top. One drawback to this system is it's weight (not important to me, but to some) and the fact that by pushing your gear out in front of your handlebars it could affect steering and your ability to see obstacles on the trail. I found neither of these cases to be issues for me, however, I don't go very fast either.

Inside the Salsa Cradle, I used a double ended compression sack (sewed by a friend) and half of a Thermarest Z-lite sleeping pad wrapped around it to give it a bit of rigidity. I have my Thermarest cut in half because I use one half as extra insulation on the ground under my inflatable sleeping pad and my doggo gets the other half to help keep her warmer and more comfortable. You'll also notice my bear bell attached to the whole set up to give the impression that Santa is coming down the trail with all the bouncing and shaking of the suspension on the bike.

All in all this kit did the trick, however, it was a bit challenging to get strapped on correctly and dialed in. That's why I upgraded to the Link Handlebar Roll. I will likely continue to use that in conjunction with the Salsa Anything Cradle as I like having some more storage on the handlebars. I'd be happy to use the just the roll for a while and let you know how I like it.

In terms of the Ortlieb 15L Handlebar pack, I've done trips with folks who used it and enjoyed it. Having the ability to release air when trying to compress it is pretty handy. The elastic cords allow you to add some items, similarly to the daisy chain loops on the Revelate Designs Sweetroll Handlebar Bag. As all three of those seem to have similar systems for attaching them to your handlebars, it is likely that any issues you may have with cable routing would be the same (another advantage of the Salsa Anything Cradle).

Hopefully this helps, I'll keep you posted once I've used the Link Handlebar Roll!

Handlebarbag.jpg

 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Hi John, as always, thank you for the thorough and informative reply!  I notice there’s an ortlieb 15 L handlebar pack in the REI outlet for $119 vs the usual $160 item which is also listed in the regular REI store, do you know the difference between them besides price?

I’ll ride the Pine Creek Rail trail in PA tomorrow on my adv 1.1.  I’ve lowered tire pressure every time I’ve ridden it and tomorrow is 50lb.  This is quite a process for a guy used to 130-140lb tire pressure in my 700x23-25s on my road bike!   I started at max pressure of 85 (‘cause, well, higher pressure is faster, isn’t it?) and have lowered it 5lb each time I’ve ridden the trail, pleased each time that I felt less vibration in my wrists and hands, less teeth rattling, and I don’t think I’m any slower or the pedaling requires more effort.  I’m riding with friends averaging a conversational 12-13 mph.  
take care

hank

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@HankG 

I hope you had a great ride today! Sometimes I think there is no end to the amount of experimentation one can do with one's tire pressure. I can't wait for next winter and we can talk about 3-5 lbs of pressure in your fat-tire bike!

I looked at the two Ortlieb Handlebar Packs and there are many similarities (weight, materials, features) and only a couple of difference I can see:

  1. The Ortlieb Handlebar Pack - 15 liters on the REI Outlet has a buckle system to attach to your handlebars with a side-release buckle and a ladderlock strap adjuster, in order to tighten it down securely. The Ortlieb Handlebar Pack - 15 liters on REI.com has a side-release buckle with a quick release tab/tightener.
  2. The REI Outlet model has four smaller foam spacers to dial in the fit to your handlebars, the REI.com model has two bigger spacers.
  3. The attachment points for the elastic webbing on the dry bag is a bit different.
  4. It looks like the attachment strap for the stem has a hook and loop closure on the REI Outlet model and a flip-tab clasp on the REI.com model.

The Ortlieb website has a bunch more photos and even a 360° viewer if you'd like to check it out.

Hopefully this helps, let us know what you decide!

@Rob6, I believe Randy Quaid said it best when he said: 'I'm baaaaaaaaaaack!'

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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@HankG , good to hear from another rail trail rider.  The Pine Creek Rail Trail looks really nice, and not too far from me.  I may have to get up that way to try it!  I've ridden the Lehigh Gorge Trail out of Jim Thorpe, PA, the York Heritage Rail Trail out of York, PA, and the abandoned PA Turnpike out of Breezewood.

Good luck and have fun on your trip!

@REI-JohnJ , I thought you were on vacation?

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Hi Rob6

ive ridden the trail in York and the Lehigh Valley Gorge trail in Jim Thorpe.  All are beautiful and full of history.  On the Pine Creek trail today I was in sight of water the whole time and it also sounded beautiful.  Of note: in Blackwell is a small shop, Miller’s, that has pizza, sandwiches, and most importantly Hershey’s cappuccino crunch ice cream, one of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted.  
All my best!

PS

What size tires and what pressure do you ride on these trails?  I’m on Schwalbe Marathons, 700x35, 50-55lb pressure. 
thanks!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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Hi @HankG 

That sounds fantastic!  Both the trail and the ice cream!

There's also the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail out of Columbia, PA that parallels the Susquehanna River, and goes past Chickie's Rock, a climber's destination.  That one is 15 miles, fully paved,

My bike is a Specialized Crosstrail (hybrid) with the factory original Trigger Sport 700X38 tires, which have a very mild, center tread, with more aggressive logs to the sides.  The recommended pressure is 75-100 PSI, but I usually keep them around 60-65 PSI...except for that one time I forgot to check the pressure beforehand and couldn't figure out why pedaling was so much harder than usual.  Yeah, 20 PSI is just a wee bit too low for comfort.  🤣

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
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Thanks Rob6.  I rode the pine creek rail trail again today.  50 lb pressure , very comfortable, Hershey’s cappuccino crunch and butter pecan.  Yum

enjoy

hank

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I use the ‘CHROME’ handle bar bag and it worked flawlessly on my 186mile bikepacking trip. It also doubles as a Fanny or a sling bag for when you go into stores. $60 at REI waterproof and fits a good amount of gear

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